Madison Park residents Anna Graves and Anne Janda had made charitable contributions for years, but were looking for a way to make a more local and measurable impact in their community.
“Most of the things that we give to are sort of global,” Graves said. “We give to them because some of our friends are involved in those organizations.”
Janda and Graves, who became friends through their preschool-aged children, began looking for another way to make an impact in their backyard.
Graves has a friend in New Jersey who started an Impact 100 group there that now has 400 members. The two Madison Park residents took the model and modified it to fit the Seattle community.
The Impact 100 model was started in 2001, and now has more than 50 chapters. These women’s collective giving groups pool $1,000 donations from at least 100 members and then make an annual grant of $100,000 to a local charity.
“It’s not like a franchise model, so you don’t sign up to be one of their franchisees,” Graves said. “Loosely, the Impact model they created appealed to us.”
A separate 501(c)3, Impact 100 Seattle is now recruiting members, hoping to bring on at least 120 women by March 31, Janda said, which would allow the nonprofit to provide a $100,000 grant to a local charity while also having funds to support several other organizations.
“Since we will have worked with all of these organizations, we don’t want anyone to walk away empty handed,” Janda said.
Impact 100 Seattle is looking to support organizations that fall under five categories — arts and culture, environment, health and wellness, families, and education — and have annual operating budgets of less than $10 million. Janda said the hope is to find 10 organizations that may be a good fit by issuing a short questionnaire, and then work down to five.
“We’re also trying to take some of those hours of work, take them away from the nonprofit and put the onus on us,” Graves said of Impact 100 Seattle’s grant application model.
Impact 100 Seattle volunteers would work with them to identify the best way to use the nonprofit’s funding, resulting in grant proposals that would go to the full Impact 100 Seattle membership for a vote in November.
Having Impact 100 Seattle be volunteer-run will mean 100 percent of the funds raised through its membership go to nonprofits, Janda said, and members are welcome to add more than the $1,000 required to join.
“We’ve gotten as little as 50 extra dollars to $10,000,” she said.
Women can sponsor other members who may not be able to cover the membership cost, but that doesn’t earn them another vote when it comes time to decide where grants go in November.
“A thousand dollars is not an insignificant amount of money,” Graves said, “and I think that’s good, because we really want people to commit to this community.”
That community is currently represented by 60 members.
“It’s been really fun, and we’ve met some really smart people who have stretched our thinking already,” Janda said.
Not only does Impact 100 Seattle seek to provide meaningful philanthropy, it also wants to connect and empower women, Graves said.
“I think that women feel like they need to be doing something more,” she said.
Impact 100 Seattle will host an information and networking event from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at Treehouse, 2100 24th Ave. S. Another mix-and-mingle will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, at the Seattle Public Library-Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave.